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From The Morning Post, 8 October 1879


It has been said by one of our continental critics that at the opera, the French open their ears, the Italians their hearts, the English their mouths. There is little question of the heart in the case of such an opera as "H.M.S. Pinafore," but the most British of audiences can hardly fail to open their ears to it, so tuneful are the melodies; and if they open their mouths as well, it is that they may laugh at the fun with which it overflows. Into that fun the actors enter most zealously, a sure sign of the merit of their performance, for whether in comedy or tragedy it holds equally true that the artists who would make others feel must feel them selves. Mr. Fleming Norton, who, when first he essayed the part of Sir Joseph Porter, was rather "at sea" in it has since then studied the character so carefully and improved so sensibly in it that he may fairly be said to have achieved a distinct success. His acting is full of quaint quiet humour and his singing is excellent. The Captain Corcoran of Mr. M. Dwyer is a sailorlike and gentlemanlike performance well thought out and sustained with unremitting spirit from first to last. Mr. Dwyer's accomplishments are not merely vocal and histrionic; they are terpsichorean as well, for he dances with fantastic and original humour. The pas de trois, in which he is associated with the First Lord of the Admiralty and Josephine, the captain's daughter, is honoured every night with a triple encore. Mr. A. Rousby gives droll yet impressive expression to the eccentricities of Dick Deadeye, an able though somewhat tortuous seaman. Mr. H. Fairweather, as Bill Bobstay, the boatswain's mate, is still as amusing and characteristic as ever. Miss Fanny Edwards is capitally "made up" for Little Buttercup, the Portsmouth bumboat woman. She looks the character to the life, and plays it as veraciously. Nor should Miss Isabella Muncey be passed over without a word of praise for her sprightly rendering of Hebe, the first of Sir Joseph's numerous bevy of fair cousins, Josephine is performed on alternate nights by Madame Pauline Rita and Miss Kate Sullivan,

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